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Beet Greens Pesto Pasta Recipe

Beet Greens Pesto Pasta, an easy pesto pasta recipe using beet leaves instead of basil. A sustainable twist on classic pesto pasta!
4 star (1 rating)


  • 6 ounces pasta, rotini, fusilli, penne
  • 1 teaspoon salt, for pasta water
  • 4 ounces beet tops and stems, from about 1 bunch, or 8 medium carrots
  • cup pine nuts, or seeds if nut-free
  • 2 whole garlic cloves
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup vegan parmesan cheese, or 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • teaspoon quality sea salt
  • teaspoon black pepper


  • Wash, dry, and cut beet greens: Cut beet roots from the stem*. Cut the beet greens from the stem and place in a colander or bowl to wash, rinse well to remove dirt, then set aside to dry (about 20 minutes). Once dry, remove any remaining hard stems from leaves.
  • Prepare beet top pesto: In a food processor or blender, add beet greens, pine nuts or seeds, garlic cloves, olive oil, cheese or nutritional yeast, sea salt, and black pepper. Pulse to combine, adding more oil if needed, but keep pesto a thicker consistency.
  • Boil pasta: Bring a large pot of water and a generous pinch of salt to a boil. Add desired pasta and cook to al dente (or semi-firm) according to package instructions. Typically this means 8-10 minutes, depending on the pasta shape you choose (thicker pasta shapes require more time). When pasta is done, reserve ½ cup of pasta water and then drain pasta and set aside.
  • Prepare pesto pasta: In a large pan over medium-low heat, add pesto to pan with a small amount of reserved pasta water and heat for 1 minute. Add cooked pasta and toss to coat it in pesto. Remove from heat and plate, then serve..


  • Nut-free option: If you cannot eat nuts and are looking to make a nut-free pesto, we suggest using seeds like sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds. You can also use beans or even chickpeas.
  • Vegan option: If you are vegan, use either vegan parmesan or nutritional yeast in place of cheese. Use gluten-free pasta, if needed.
  • Tools Needed: large soup pot, food processor, cutting board, knife set
  • Prep Ahead: Prepare the beet top pesto up to four days ahead of time.
  • Leftovers and Storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days; we do not recommend freezing cooked pasta, but you can freeze the pesto and thaw before cooking pasta.
  • Nutrition notes: This recipe is a plant-based pesto pasta recipe, using beet tops instead of basil. We suggest whole grain pasta when necessary to increase fiber and nutrient content.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 497kcal, Carbohydrates: 19g, Protein: 13g, Fat: 43g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 33g, Cholesterol: 11mg, Sodium: 1905mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 1g